Thousands Race for the Cure in downtown OKC
Thousands of people gathered Saturday at Bicentennial Park in Oklahoma City at the 23rd annual Oklahoma City Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to honor those who survived and those who lost battles with breast cancer.
Chloe Soto, 11, of Norman ran the timed 5k race, joined by her uncle and cousin to support two breast cancer survivors in her family.
“Well, I did this when I was six, I haven't come in a while and I wanted to come again. It was fun,” Soto said.
Her uncle, Tim Rice, said they were out to support his wife, Natalie, who survived her battle with the disease last year and to support Chloe's grandmother, Dee Dee Bailey, who has been cancer-free for several years.
“They're both survivors so that's why we do this,” Rice said.
Donning a bright pink hat, adorned with large pink feathers, Jessie Mathis, 74, of Choctaw, said she comes to the races as often as she can to support other survivors of the disease.
After 14 years cancer-free, Mathis said it is always a powerful sight to see so many people who have suffered from the disease come out each year, adding that they share a unique bond between them.
“It's really kind of emotional to see all of the people with the (pink) T-shirts out here,” she said.
Among the 600 competitive runners at the event was Mark Goldstein, a 28-year “conqueror” of breast cancer from New Jersey attending his 236th Race for the Cure.
“It's two phases; you survive the disease, that's the clinical part, that's the medical, the chemo, the radiation (and) the surgery. You survive the disease but you've got to conquer your emotions,” Goldstein, 83, said.
Goldstein, who said he's been described as the Forrest Gump of Race for the Cure, said he'll continue to run as long as he's able.
“I've been in all of them; I've been in every Komen Race for the Cure at least once and sometimes twice and three times. As long as the Lord gives me the opportunity, I'll pursue this,” he said.
Describing his Saturday run as exhilarating, Goldstein said his main reason for running is to raise awareness that men are susceptible to the disease and that they should treat it seriously.
“What limits men from believing that they can get a woman's disease or for that matter, any disease, is a mutation in their genes. It's called the ‘macho gene,' ” he said.
“So, the ‘macho gene' limits them from realizing they can get a woman's disease, so I try to point out that this is not an assault on your masculinity, gentlemen, this is gaining knowledge, now all you've got to do with that knowledge is act upon it and be aware that you can develop it.”
Organizers said about 6,000 people came for the event, and about $400,000 was raised this year. About 600 people were in the timed, competitive race.
All proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation, with 75 percent going toward local programs to offer breast health education and cancer screening and treatment. The remaining 25 percent supports the Susan G. Komen Grants Program. For more information, go online to ww5.komen.org.